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The following is an Open Letter from TheStable.ca concerning Flamboro Downs' recent announcement re: age restrictions Many life changing decisions have been made for all of us since the end of the Slots At Racetracks Program in Ontario. Depending on your position in racing, these decisions could be seen as negative, or positive. I want to believe these were at least meant for the betterment of racing. I suppose this makes me an optimist. Or naive. We know that in order for us to succeed together in the future, we need to attract new clients, expand our borders, and branch out to the general public in a campaign to show everyday people the unmatched affordable entertainment found within our industry. As we increase participation in the Ontario harness racing industry, we begin to see that growth represented in our overall wagering handle. This will not happen overnight, and the stance of thestable.ca on this is simple: by bolstering participation through affordable ownership, we grow on-track attendance and on-track revenue. As far as wagering is concerned, look at the money wagered on horses racing under our banner, and it isn't hard to see that this formula is a very workable model. One fractional ownership stable alone cannot change racing, but Rome wasn't built in a day. Many of our 700 clients and the majority of those who are new to the racing industry want to experience racing in-person, on-track. They attend the track when their horse(s) race. Many of them include their families in the racing experience and this is good for racing across the board. It fits perfectly with the engagement model of thestable.ca and it accomplishes what the harness racing industry purports is important for sustainability: Industry research studies deliver the same message time and time again: early exposure to harness racing and Standardbred horse racing is critical in cultivating new generations of horse racing fans and participants. You can only imagine my surprise when I read the press release last week about Flamboro's new on-site "age restrictions". I must say, I couldn't have been more disappointed. How are we to reach the next generations if they aren't welcome at the racetrack? This is straight out of the '70s and does not meet any reasonable standards in racing in 2019. The idea that your children are welcome on the tarmac, but not indoors is absurd. The bathroom is on the opposite side of the facility and your children must walk around the grandstand, past the smoking areas to access any restroom. Whom in racing is watching out for our future? Our needs? Our brand? Our legacy? We can't possibly expect a gaming company to worry about horse racing, so who ensures they do? I have spoken with Flamboro Downs management and I hope they reconsider their decision. We are in business together and I hope our best interests, at some point, intertwine and we can begin to actually operate as partners rather than forced bunkmates. Until then, we need to make our position heard clearly and ensure it is completely understood. Horse racing needs to be enabled to attract a wide swath of mainstream society. The ability for families to come out to the track is vital moving forward. One could see this decision by Flamboro as a simple oversight and one that could be corrected quite easily. Or, it could be a quiet statement of defiance signaling the lack of any interest in supporting racing's future at their facility. Let's hope Flamboro decides that the original statement was a bit premature and short-sighted, and they are indeed truly committed to racing. To be abundantly clear, the decision to close the grandstand building to all children under the age of 19 runs contrary to the current and future best interests of harness racing. And it certainly does not reflect the philosophy of thestable.ca. It undermines our efforts and the harness racing experience we provide for our clients. We operate the fastest-growing fractional ownership stable in North America and the largest harness racing stable in Canada. In 2020, we will have nearly 200 horses owned by more than 800 people. We cannot and will not support last week's announcement by Flamboro Downs in what we categorize as a sharp deviation from any positive horse racing partnership. We will not support racing in this form and NONE of our horses will race at Flamboro Downs if this decision about age restrictions at their facility is not revisited and rectified. We welcome all horsepeople to do the same. We cannot wait for the cavalry. If history is any indicator, they are not coming. This is an issue that Flamboro Downs and our racing stakeholders should be able to resolve together. A day will come when we work together to provide a better experience for all our clients. I want to believe that a resolution can be found and we can continue to build a better industry for all of us. From Anthony MacDonald, President, Co-founder for TheStable.ca

GUELPH, ON -- CityTV's Breakfast Television (BT) Toronto reported live-on-location from Tomiko Training Centre on Wednesday morning to explore fractional racehorse ownership with TheStable.ca and Ontario Racing. BT Live Eye host Nicole Servinis presented four segments from the Puslinch, ON training centre (base operations for TheStable.ca) during the national broadcast. The spots included conversations with Ontario Racing's John Siscos about the importance of horse racing in the province's rural economy; Lunch n Learn facilitator Elissa Blowe spoke about the program's mandate to educate groups about racehorse ownership; TheStable.ca President Anthony MacDonald discussed the evolution of his business to become the largest harness racing stable in Canada; TheStable.ca client James Traynor explained the benefits of owning small fractions of Standardbred racehorses. Servinis made her on-track debut in a double-seated jog cart accompanied by MacDonald as the pair drove two-year-old trotter Rooney Blue Chip. TheStable.ca is hosting an Open Barn on Saturday, August 24 at Tomiko Training Centre. The event provides guided tours of the barns, introductions to some of the 60 horses onsite, and an introduction to fractional Standardbred racehorse ownership. Admission is free but an RSVP is required: www.thestable.ca/openbarn Ontario Racing offers free Lunch n Learn sessions about racehorse ownership, hosted by Elissa Blowe, suitable for groups of all types and sizes : http://bit.ly/2TSG5Vf BT Segments: Introduction: http://bit.ly/2KVYYmc Interview with Ontario Racing: http://bit.ly/2Mv7uvM  Nicole jogs a horse: http://bit.ly/2Z8icPh TheStable.ca client James Traynor: http://bit.ly/30qgeGO by Kelly Spencer, for The Stable  

Elkton, MD -- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by the USTA/BetAmerica, is excited to announce the line-up for Thursday morning (Aug. 14) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Gabe Prewitt, Anthony MacDonald, Joe Zambito, and Jordan Stratton. Prewitt joins the program this week to talk about the happening at The Red Mile. The Kentucky Sire Stakes kicked off this past week in Lexington with some big names taking center stage. The pair will discuss some of the performances he has witnessed and how it may translate to Grand Circuit week. MacDonald will discuss TheStable.ca and their PEI initiative that has taken place over the past couple of weeks where they enter a horse into the Gold Cup & Saucer. He will discuss what goes into that promotion and talk about Brave World who will be in the Gold Cup consolation on Saturday night. Zambito, the track announcer at Batavia Downs Gaming, makes his debut on Thursday to talk about the 2019 Night of Champions at Batavia. Zambito has been a race caller at the storied track for several years, and he will discuss some of his experiences through the years. Stratton joins the program to discuss his recent trip to Ireland where he was for the Vincent Delaney Memorial weekend. Stratton will discuss some of the experiences he had during the event and what it felt like to win a race in Ireland. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by USTA/BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com or on the archive at www.betamerica.com/BARN. by Michael Carter, for Post Time  

GUELPH, ON -- Horse racing's fastest-growing fractional ownership stable is hosting its third annual Spring Open House on Sunday, May 12. TheStable.ca welcomes clients and newcomers of all ages to Tomiko Training Centre (210 Campbellville Rd., Hamilton) to drop-in any time from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event is free but an RSVP is requested. During the Open House, guests are invited to meet the horses of TheStable.ca and chat with owners Anthony and Amy MacDonald, their staff, clients, and industry professionals. The event will showcase many of the engaging features of TheStable.ca, including its bi-weekly live streaming video broadcasts of TheStable.ca horses in training. The Open House broadcast kicks off at 10:00 a.m., when the horses will train on the racetrack. Some of North America's top racehorse drivers will steer the young colts and fillies, while TV commentators preview the horses' pedigrees. The broadcast will include live interviews and video features and be streamed at TheStable.ca starting at 10:00 a.m. EST A catalogue will be available on The Stable.ca on May 10, detailing all horses for which fractions are available for purchase. The catalogue will include a schedule of when each horse will be showcased on the broadcast during the Open House. Several prizes will be awarded throughout the event, including one-percent fractions of the horses. Onsite purchasing will be available for horses and merchandise. Payment can be made with credit card, PayPal, cash, cheque and e-transfer. The facility offers a heated viewing area with limited seating. Hot and cold drinks will be sold as a fundraising effort by Racing Under Saddle Ontario. Lunch is available to purchase from the Gastro Grub Food Truck. Now in its fourth year, TheStable.ca is an award-winning fractional racehorse ownership operation based in Guelph, ON. There are currently 130 Standardbred horses owned by nearly 700 people from 11 countries worldwide. Tomiko Training Centre: site of the Open House (Photo: Curtis MacDonald) The innovative and engaging model invites people to own a little and love it a lot. Clients can purchase as little as one percent of a horse, making the thrill of harness racing and racehorse ownership easy, accessible and affordable. The MacDonalds built this fractional ownership stable as a bridge -- a way to welcome non-horse-people to racehorse ownership with a very modest investment (as low as $100), low-risk, and completely accessible and transparent operations. Complete Open House event details and the RSVP form are available here. For more information, contact Kelly at kelly@thestable.ca or (519) 465-7908.   Kelly Spencer Director Of Business Development    

MILTON, April 25, 2019 - Drivers Phil Hudon, Anthony MacDonald and Bob McClure were all taken to hospital following an accident during Thursday morning's fourth-qualifier at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The harness racing accident occurred in the second-quarter of the race when pacer Excaliber Seelster and driver Louis Philippe Roy stepped on the wheel of driver Paul MacDonell, who was sitting in the two-hole with Prestige Seelster. Excaliber Seelster broke stride from stepping on the wheel, which caused a chain-reaction. American Risk and McClure were trailing Excaliber Seelster and fell to the track. Hudon, driving The First Step, and MacDonald, driving Sunshines Finest, couldn't avoid the fallen horse and were both tossed from their sulkies to the track. Paramedics were quickly on the scene and transported McClure and MacDonald by ambulance to a local hospital. Hudon also went to hospital to be examined. All three drivers took to social media Thursday afternoon to provide updates on their injuries. MacDonald posted on Facebook that he suffered a broken wrist, broken elbow, broken ribs and a small collapsed lung. McClure also posted on Facebook, noting he broke his pelvis in the accident, but will not require surgery. Bob McClure     -New Image Media Hudon shared on Twitter that he suffered a broken left foot. Phil Hudon      - New Image Media All three horses were caught following the incident after being loose on the track. Sunshines Finest, who is trained by Harry Poulton, was transported to the University of Guelph for examination. TheStable.ca posted that the three-year-old pacer did not suffer any fractures or breaks and will make a full recovery. American Risk and The First Step came out of the incident without serious injuries. Woodbine Entertainment extends its best wishes to Hudon, MacDonald, McClure and the connections of Sunshines Finest for a speedy and healthy recovery.   Mark McKelvie Woodbine Entertainment, Mohawk Park

The Thursday (April 25) qualifying session at Woodbine Mohawk Park was interrupted by a chain reaction accident that sent multiple drivers to the track. The harness racing accident occurred in race four. The chart from the race states that the Paul MacDonell-driven Prestige Seelster fell to the track in the second quarter of the contest and the rest of the horses in the dash were pulled up. Woodbine Entertainment’s Mark McKelvie, who was calling the qualifier, stated that drivers Phil Hudon, Anthony MacDonald and Bob McClure each hit the track after having been unseated. McKelvie added that Hudon and MacDonald were able to get up under their own power and were walking on the track, but that McClure stayed down longer. McClure was eventually able to sit up and be attended to by the on-track paramedics. After some time passed, McClure and MacDonald were taken to hospital. The nature and severity of any of the drivers’ injuries are currently unknown. McKelvie also stated that all of the horses that were involved in the accident were corralled and returned to the paddock for inspection. Trot Insider has learned that Hudon, who was limping after the ordeal, was able to get changed out of his driving colors and make his way home. Two extra ambulances were brought in to attend to the scene for McClure and MacDonald. Trot Insider was told at the scene that McClure hurt his hip, has a very sore back, and required a stretcher, while MacDonald sustained injuries to his wrist and elbow. Trot Insider will update this story when more information is learned.   from Standardbred Canada

LEBANON, OH - Wittyville and Dylan The Great, a pair of trotting colts from the Ron Burke Stable, each captured $15,000 elimination heats of the James K. Hackett Memorial on Tuesday afternoon (April 9) at Miami Valley Raceway. The talented pair of sophomore harness racing trotters, who finished first and third, respectively, in last season's $275,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship will headline a field of nine that qualified for next Tuesday's $40,000 Hackett final. Wittyville, a lukewarm 2-1 favorite for driver Chris Page, got away fourth in the first split, moved up to second on the outside by the three-quarters station, cleared to the front at the head of the stretch and then held a fast-closing Home Hall (Jason Brewer) at bay by a neck in 1:57.4. Westfiftysecond (Anthony MacDonald) finished third and Never Say Uncle (Kayne Kauffman) was fourth to also advance to the Hackett championship tilt. Wittyville, a son of Manofmanymissions, was a $207,153 winner at two and needed just one 2:00 qualifier to prep for his successful Hackett elim after a six-month layoff. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Knox Services and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Dylan The Great (Page) was a few ticks faster in the second elim topping Shake N Bake (Ryan Stahl) and Mystical Peter (Trace Tetrick) in 1:57. Dylan The Great scored the fastest victory in James K. Hackett Memorial eliminations at Miami Valley on Tuesday. (Conrad photo) Also making his initial 2019 start, the son of Break The Bank K passed the $100,000 earnings plateau with the triumph. Yes (Josh Sutton) made the final with a fourth place finish as did Otsego (Kauffman) who qualified with the fastest fifth place finish (1:57.3). Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi partner with Lawrence Karr and J & T Silva-Purnel & Libby on Dylan The Great. Racing resumes at Miami Valley on Friday night when the Hackett pacing fillies will make their debut, followed by the Hackett pacing colts eliminations on Saturday night.   Gregg Keidel

STICKNEY, IL - Last Friday, Hawthorne Race Course, along with the Chicago Blackhawks and hockey legend Eddie Olczyk, hosted a VIP party at Hawthorne. A United States Hockey Hall of Famer, Olczyk is known worldwide for his years on the ice, and currently as the color analyst for NBC for the NHL. While hockey is Olczyk's first passion, horse racing isn't too far behind. A winner of multiple handicapping contests, Olczyk has owned numerous thoroughbreds but is now trying his hand in Standardbred ownership as well. The Friday event at Hawthorne hosted 150 VIP winners through the Chicago Blackhawks who were on site for a day of wagering, along with a chance to win their share of a Standardbred horse. The horse, two-year-old Illinois-bred filly Olympic Hopeful, will be racing at Hawthorne this summer for trainer Angie Coleman. Olympic Hopeful is offered through TheStable.ca, a fractional ownership group based in Canada and run by Anthony MacDonald. At the Friday event, five winners each won a 4% share of Olympic Hopeful for the racing season. They are Natalie Cozzi, Christine Koeller, Eddie Rivera, Chris Sroka, and Brian Vlaisavich. They will join Olczyk as he has ownership of the filly as well. "Fractional ownership is one of racing's fastest ways to introduce new owners to racing at a minimal cost," stated Hawthorne Assistant General Manager John Walsh. "What Anthony MacDonald has done through TheStable.ca is grow interest exponentially in harness racing, with numerous stakes-caliber horses racing across North America. To team up with TheStable.ca, Eddie Olczyk, and Hawthorne Race Course in our Own a Horse promotion is just a perfect fit for all involved." Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for spring thoroughbred racing on Friday, March 15. The summer harness meet opens on Friday, May 5 and races through September 24. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700.   Jim Miller

GUELPH, ON -- TheStable.ca, harness racing's fastest-growing harness racing fractional ownership stable, wrapped-up its Australian speaking tour on Tuesday. The two-week gig covered 16 venues across 2,000 km throughout Victoria and New South Wales and concluded with the purchase of two Australian pacing fillies. The yearlings will be owned in part by clients of TheStable.ca and will be trained and campaigned in Australia by local trainers keen to start their own fractional ownership operations. TheStable.ca is an award-winning fractional racehorse ownership business based in Guelph, ON and operated by Anthony and Amy MacDonald. The pair participated in a similar tour hosted by Harness Racing New Zealand in September 2018. There are currently 137 Standardbred horses (including 75 two-year-olds) in TheStable.ca owned by 634 people from 11 countries worldwide. The Australian tour began February 20 in Melbourne and concluded March 3 in Sydney and was hosted by Australian Pacing Gold (APG), Club Menangle and the New South Wales Standardbred Owners Association (NSWSOA). MacDonald presented seminars at four racetracks (Bendigo, Menangle, Bathurst and Newcastle) visited numerous training centres and breeding farms and spoke during events hosted by Club Menangle and APG. During the 14-day tour, he also participated in 10 media interviews, including video features, podcasts, print articles and live TV interviews, "It was a pleasure having Anthony in Australia to talk about TheStable.ca and fractional ownership," said Daniel Cordina, a Director of Club Menangle and Vice President of the NSWSOA. "As an association, we've learned a lot about fractional ownership in this short amount of time and look forward to the next 12 months to foster this project. "Anthony's passion has been contagious, and it was something that our industry needed. The message has spread quickly; we need an Anthony to set up in Sydney!" The tour was intended to inform racing participants, administrators, executives and local politicians about this proven model with the intent of replicating the system to attract new owners and grow Australian harness racing. Several trainers showed interest in establishing their own fractional ownership stables based on TheStable.ca's model of delivering unique entertainment experiences for its clients. Four of those interested parties will be responsible for the development of the yearlings purchased at the APG Sale. Darren McCall and his wife Karina will condition the Heston Blue Chip - Girls Go Racing filly (Lot #319). Robert Morris and KerryAnn Turner (Lucky Lodge Stable) will train Lot #407, a Warrawee Needy filly out of Rockin Lu Lu. (l to r) Breeders/co-owners of Lot #319 (Heston Blue Chip filly) at the APG Sale in Sydney, AUS on March 3 with trainer Darren McCall, Anthony MacDonald and co-owner Daniel Cordina. "People must realize that horse racing faces the same hurtles all over the world," said Anthony MacDonald. "We are shrinking, and I believe the owners, trainers and their horses are the key to stopping this trend. But educating our horsepeople about how to market and advertise themselves can be a difficult proposition, and one that will take time. Providing a venue for dialogue is the first step. Australia certainly understood that. Bathurst Harness Racing Club on Feb. 27: (l to r) Paul Toole, Bathurst MP and New South Wales State Minister for Lands & Forestry, Minister for Racing; Anthony MacDonald, TheStable.ca; John Barilaro, Deputy Premier of New South Wales.   "The trainers Down Under were curious to see what our ownership model looked like once we unpacked it in front of them. They understand that the future of this industry lies in its growth. Our message was simple: The more people that participate in horse racing, the brighter the future will be for all of us. That's the same in all hemispheres." During the tour, MacDonald also drove three horses at Bathurst Harness Racing Club. Donning the polka dot silks of the horses' owners, he didn't add to his 3044 career wins, lamenting instead that, "losing feels the same on both sides of the world." The innovative and engaging model of TheStable.ca invites people to own a little and love it a lot. Clients can purchase as little as one percent of a horse, making the thrill of harness racing and racehorse ownership easy, accessible and affordable. The MacDonalds built this fractional ownership stable as a bridge -- a way to welcome newcomers to racehorse ownership with a very modest investment (as low as $80), low-risk, and completely accessible and transparent operations. The ownership experience with TheStable.ca includes: bi-weekly professionally produced broadcasts of the horses in training, delivered via livestream; weekly commentary videos about all horses; weekly email communications; special events, including Open Houses; and the open invitation to visit the horses at TheStable.ca base at Tomiko Training Centre. For more information, contact Kelly at kelly@thestable.ca or Anthony at (519) 400-4263. Kelly Spencer Director Of Business Development

GUELPH, ON -- TheStable.ca, horse racing's fastest-growing fractional ownership stable, is heading Down Under for a two-week speaking tour. TheStable.ca is an award-winning fractional racehorse ownership business based in Guelph, ON operated by Anthony and Amy MacDonald. The couple participated in a similar tour hosted by Harness Racing New Zealand in September 2018. There are currently 135 Standardbred horses (including 70 two-year-olds) in TheStable.ca owned by more than 600 people from 11 countries worldwide. The Australian tour begins February 20 in Melbourne and concludes March 3 in Sydney and is hosted by Australian Pacing Gold (APG), Club Menangle and the NSW Standardbred Owners Association. "The growth of The Stable has been achieved by promoting the experience and enjoyment of being an owner," said Bruce Christison, Chief Executive of Club Menangle. "NSW and Victoria are the two strongest harness racing states in Australia and we have Anthony booked to speak in five major cities across these two states. "This is a great opportunity for the horsemen in Australia to listen to one of their own explaining how we can work together to grow our great sport," said Christison. "During their time in Sydney, our guests will also get to witness the Miracle Mile, Australia's richest and fastest harness race." The tour itinerary includes: February 25 - Presentation at 7:00 p.m. at Club Menangle February 26 - Presentation at 7:00 p.m. at Bathurst HRC February 28 - Presentation at 7:00 p.m. at Newcastle HRC MacDonald will also be attending several events, including: March 1 - Harness Breeders NSW/HRNSW/APG Yearling Parade at Inglis Riverside Stables Complex, Warwick Farm March 2 - Inspecting APG Yearlings at Inglis Riverside Stables and attending the Miracle Mile at Club Menangle March 3 - APG Yearling Sale at Inglis Riverside Stables The innovative and engaging model of TheStable.ca invites people to own a little and love it a lot. Clients can purchase as little as one percent of a horse, making the thrill of harness racing and racehorse ownership easy, accessible and affordable. The MacDonalds built this fractional ownership stable as a bridge -- a way to welcome newcomers to racehorse ownership with a very modest investment (as low as $80), low-risk, and completely accessible and transparent operations. The ownership experience with TheStable.ca includes: bi-weekly professionally produced broadcasts of the horses in training, delivered via livestream; weekly commentary videos about all horses; weekly email communications; special events, including Open Houses; and the open invitation to visit the horses at TheStable.ca base at Tomiko Training Centre in Puslinch, ON. From TheStable.com

That is one of the slogans that young, passionate and positive Canadian horse trainer, Anthony MacDonald lives by. That same Anthony MacDonald is about to arrive in Australia for a series of Seminars in Victoria and New South Wales, the details of which are included at the bottom of this article. The downunder trip for Anthony is being is being Sponsored by Club Menangle , the NSW Owners Association and Australian Pacing Gold. Anthony MacDonald and his wife Amy commenced a Syndication Company in Ontario about 3 years ago under the name of TheStable.ca. After a slow start in their first year, The Stable now has in excess of 600 individual owners involved in ownership of over 140 horses. In Canada you are able to purchase as little as 1% in a Syndicate and hence the slogan  “ Own a Little  ..  And Love It A Lot “. Anthony’s philosophy is focused on providing fun and excitement in owning an equine athlete and not on the gambling aspect of horse racing. He readily acknowledges that his success is based on four simple but essential ingredients ; 1.   Communication with Owners. 2.   Providing Good Customer Service . 3.   Use of Modern Technology. 4.   Fixed Costs per Month Anthony is a true down to earth horseman.  He was born and raised in Kingston, Prince Edward Island which is one of three Provinces (along with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) that make up the Canadian Maritimes on the far East Coast of Canada. He was born into a Harness Racing family .  His older brother Mark is a champion driver in North America (probably best known here in Australia for driving Mr Feelgood to victory in the 2006 Little Brown Jug and also the regular driver of American Ideal), whilst his younger brother, James, is the reigning World Champion driver, a title he won in 2017. Anthony himself is no slouch in the gig either having driven over 3,000 winners in his homeland, although it is fair to say that he now concentrates more on training and communicating with his owners. The Maritimes have provided North America with some of its finest horsemen.  Aside from the MacDonald clan, the likes of Carl and Jody Jamieson, Dr Ian Moore (trainer of Shadow Play and numerous other outstanding Pacers), Brent McGrath (trainer of the legendary Somebeachsomewhere), Greg Peck (trainer of the freaky trotter Muscle Hill), as well as one of the greatest horsemen of all in time in Joe O’Brien all grew up and developed their horse skills in those glorious Maritimes. The story of how Anthony and Amy MacDonald became involved  in Syndication is also an intriguing one .  Make sure you start up your car and drive to one of the venues to hear the full story. Anthony MacDonald is Passionate and Positive about Harness Racing and his message is contagious.  You will love to catch the bug that the Mac Message will give you. DATES AND VENUES Bendigo Club, Victoria           from 7pm - Thursday 21st Feb Club Menangle, NSW            7pm - Monday 25th Feb Bathurst Club, NSW              7pm - Tuesday 26th Feb. Newcastle Club, NSW           7pm - Thursday 28th Feb In addition he will be interviewed by John Tapp at the Harness Breeders Yearling Parade at Warwick Farm on Friday, 1st March.  The Parade will commence at 7pm.   John Coffey

We all try to put away money for our kids' education, if we can. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, nurse, teacher, or anything else in life, you need a formal education. I recently read an article by Dean Hoffman about how horsemen need to promote their own industry. I agree. I often preach about horsemen marketing themselves better. But is that really fair? We are asking hard working people to put in long hours to try to get by in this industry, and then put in more time and money to market it? I like Mr. Hoffman's article and agree with much of it, but the reality is that horsemen for the most part aren't that good at marketing. I mean, I could run a marathon, or wrestle a bear. But neither are what you might call "my strong suits". Just because you want to do something, doesn't necessarily mean you can achieve it. I do think the industry does need to market itself better. But that requires education to implement. Who will educate our horsepeople? Look around, I don't think there are an abundance of teachers. Honestly speaking, our industry has employed so-called marketing experts for years. Where has that gotten us? I've said it for four years, and now unequivocally proven that horse racing can attract new people to our industry from all walks of life. This power absolutely lies in the hands of the horsepeople, but they need help to achieve it. Make no mistake, horsepeople aren't alone. The entire industry need to change the way it sees itself and markets itself. In each jurisdiction, for the most part you'll find a failing racetrack. Sure, some are propped up, but they are not profitable on their own from wagering revenues. We have watched our clients leave year after year, with no replacements to speak of from the younger generations. We have lost our understanding of what we actually are, and do not recognize that we are no longer a viable gaming product in the eyes of the general public. Horse racing is interesting, but the entry points into it are complex and often not appealing to the very people we need to attract. This isn't new, we've known it for years. Look around the grandstands for our average fans age group. We can't convince people to become fans of horse racing with the promise of Super Hi Five jackpots, and lower takeouts on the Win Fours. People in the general public don't care about those things. What we need is a way to get people to the track. Much like a bar, you only need to get them there; they'll figure out what they want to drink once they are. Affordable ownership is a promising way to attract them. (Let's not argue if it works; I think we've done more than enough to prove that it does.) But one or two fractional stables means nothing for the future of our sport, and that's why educating and helping our horsepeople with it is invaluable to the entire future and viability of this industry Our other problem: Horsepeople try to convince potential clients that there is a formula to find a return on their investment in racing. (ROI) This is all we have had in the past to attract people, but for the most part this is a fool's errand. That also plays a part in why our owners are leaving. They've been lied to; albeit inadvertently in most cases. Like George Costanza said "it's not a lie if you believe it, Jerry." Most trainers mean well and believe they can turn a profit. They're simply wrong. It's incredibly difficult with the overhead we carry today. To put it simply: it costs more today to race for less that we did in the past. The Goal: What is happening with thestable.ca should not be surprising to anyone. The information gathered to start it was pristine, resounding and emphatic. But people still ask, why, and how does it work? It's simple: we offer only what we can absolutely provide. Entertainment, and an unmatched experience in society. The second part is what we have all missed. Our industry has forgotten how exciting it is to be a part of this industry and how affordable it is when offered in small percentages. The one thing everyone in society wants is affordability, and entertainment has slowly become unaffordable. That's our opening. People spend much more on tickets to a hockey game for their family for one night, than they will to own a percentage of a horse over most of one year (bills included). If you're in it for fun and not for profit, you only need a small percentage. The entertainment attributed to horse ownership is unmatched by any mainstream sports exposure. Simply put, that's why and how thestable.ca works. By changing the way we approach the general public and the message we attract them with, you will see an influx of interest and ownership requests never seen before. Again, this isn't hypothetical jargon, this is reality. Thestable.ca just surpassed 600 active clients before Christmas and now sits at 604. Our average client owns no more that 4% of any horse. We don't sell investment, we sell entertainment. And we make good on our promise. The obvious question anyone would ask is: How does that help gaming dollars, because that's what really drives our industry. We found an interesting thing about our clients. Although they professed to not "gamble", guess what they did when they were at the races? When in Rome, do as the Romans do. By attracting people from the general public with a strong message of affordable horse ownership, we strengthen our stables. Those people are exposed to racing in the way that original horse racing enthusiasts and in turn gamblers were. We are bringing the potential of new clients to the doorsteps of our racetracks. These are people that would never attend a race or a casino otherwise. We need to work together to build-up both sides of the racetracks with the promise of an unmatched entertainment experience and heightened customer service, and we deliver on both. This industry is on the cusp of new growth, but without education and help from all facets of racing, none of it can be achieved. I call on all racetracks, horsepeople and every stakeholder in this industry to use the failures of the past to help map the future. What you just read isn't a paper written by a government panel on how it believes the industry can succeed in the future. What you have just read has been battle-tested and thoroughly proven in real life. I tried not to mention my company's name too often in this article, because it's not any one stable that will pave the way for our industry's future. It isn't any one person or model. It is all of us working together, understanding that there is a way forward and collectively persuing it. I simply proved it is possible. It's up to all of us to succeed together. Through education, we will find an understanding, and a profound realization that by changing the way we promote our industry we change the way it's viewed and experienced by the people we have been looking for forever. A New Year's resolution for the entire industry. Happy New year, Anthony MacDonald TheStable.ca    

Southland trainer Kirk Larsen and his wife Michelle along with Tara Blyth are taking on a new venture; forming a syndicate that is fun and most of all affordable. The idea behind The Own The Moment Syndicate was triggered by a recent visit to the province by Canadian trainer Anthony MacDonald who has an art of getting people involved in large affordable and successful racing syndicates.  “After listening to him he gave me a few ideas. Horse numbers are light everywhere so it’ll be good to get some new blood into the game,” said Kirk. Larsen, who has bought yearlings at the sales for many years, plans to go to the February Sales and purchase up to five horses for the new syndicate. “We’re looking at an average of $30,000 per horse and selling 200 shares at $1,000. After that, it works out to be about $50 per month. It assures people of how much it’s going to cost. There’s a lot who want to get involved in syndicates but they are often scared about how much it’s going to cost and may think they can’t afford it. If I can give them a price and it’s no more than that it may encourage them.” Larsen says new owners don’t have to buy a full share. They can buy a share amongst a group of friends. “But I’m hoping some will also take a couple of shares because selling 200 shares won’t be easy.” If the uptake is slower than expected Larsen says 160 shares would buy 4 horses or 120 could buy three. “But by buying a few you’ve got a better chance of getting a result.” He says he did consider getting a readymade horse to kick start the syndicate but thought that wasn’t the way to go. “I half pie considered it but you have to pay over the odds for horses (like that) and you’re competing against the Australian market. I’ve tried everything over the years and the best success I’ve had is going to the yearling sales and buying.” Larsen does have a very good buying record at the sales. In 2016 he bought James Butt ($16,000) and Thatswhatisaid ($25,000).  James Butt won three of his twenty starts and $26,340 while Thatswhatisaid won once and was placed in five of his other starts. Both have since been sold to Australia. In 2017 his three purchases were The White Rabbit ($18,000), Tolkien ($17,000) and Duke Of Dundee ($11,000). The White Rabbit and Tolkien have already won races while Larsen is sure Duke Of Dundee will win at short notice as well. “If you’ve got up to $30,000 you can generally buy something reasonable. We may pay a little bit more for one and maybe a bit less for something else. We’re also looking (at maybe) buying two colts, two fillies and a trotter so we can diversify a bit.” He says so far the response has been very positive. “I’ve had a few owners that have dropped off over the years because they may have sold their farm but they still love the game. It gives them an excuse to go to the races. Some are keen to get back into the game.” Larsen says his wife Michelle is already using Facebook, photos and videos’ of horses doing track work for their existing group of owners and this use of social media is important to the next generation of owners. “We plan to have an open day in mid-January for anyone that’s interested and would like to check the place out. When the horses arrive home (February) there’ll be a BBQ, a look at the horses and I can explain how we’re going to do things. The idea is to keep everyone well informed.” The Larsens are also taking their syndicate idea on the road to the Omakau Races on the 2nd January. They’re going to be running a special competition that’ll give the winner a phantom share in one of their racehorses so they can get a taste of things to come. The winner will receive complimentary admission, carpark tickets for 4 people, 4 complimentary race books and be treated like an owner throughout the day, meeting the trainer and the horse. If the horse wins, then there’ll be an opportunity to have their photo taken with the horse. The Central Otago Trotting Club is also putting $50 each way on the horse. If you’re keen to get onboard and join the Own The Moment Syndicate, contact Michelle Larsen on 03-2217096 or Tara Blyth on 0274206810.      Bruce Stewart  

GUELPH, ON -- Harness racing's fastest-growing fractional ownership stable hosted its third annual Christmas Open House on December 9. The Stable.ca welcomed 275 guests who traveled from 10 states and provinces to its headquarters at Tomiko Training Centre. The free event showcased 78 yearlings training in 10 sets and was broadcast via livestream to more than 6,000 viewers worldwide. Now in its third year, TheStable.ca is an award-winning fractional racehorse ownership business based in Guelph, ON and operated by Anthony and Amy MacDonald. There are currently 146 Standardbred horses in TheStable.ca owned by nearly 600 people from 11 countries worldwide. The innovative and engaging model invites people to own a little and love it a lot. Clients can purchase as little as one percent of a horse, making the thrill of harness racing and racehorse ownership easy, accessible and affordable. The MacDonalds built this fractional ownership stable as a bridge -- a way to welcome newcomers to racehorse ownership with a very modest investment (as low as $111), low-risk, and completely accessible and transparent operations. Each year, TheStable.ca Christmas Open House fundraises for a local or horse-related organization. This year's donations totaled $1,250 and will be split equally between the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS) and The Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF). Clients of TheStable.ca gave on behalf of their horses in a campaign titled Horses Helping Horses. The top earner was Macpherson Thunder, a yearling Sunshine Beach colt which drew donations of $270. Several prizes were awarded at the Open House, including one-percent fractions of five horses. The winners are listed below. • 1% of Watch Ave - Karen Cullen • 1% of Fusspot - Betty Strong • 1% of Brushcut - Bob Herber • 1% of Path Of Totality - Rick Doyle • 1% of Alesund - Ruth Cudmore The event included a surprise introduction of the newest horse to join TheStable.ca. First Glance turned several heads as he was led onto the track to greet guests. The adorable weanling is the only roan horse by Ontario sire Thinking Out Loud. The next Open House is slated for May 12. For more information, contact Anthony at anthony@thestable.ca or (519) 400-4263. From TheStable.ca  

GUELPH, ON -- Mario Baillargeon knows a winner when he sees one. He has driven 7,718 of them over the past four decades on North America's top harness racing circuits. Now, the 61-year-old horseman is pivoting his career to join forces with the award-winning fractional ownership phenom TheStable.ca. Baillargeon joins fellow trainers Harry Poulton, Jason McGinnis and Kevin McMaster in conditioning the operation's 121 horses based out of Tomiko Training Centre in Campbellville, ON. He'll be part of the team leading the 2019 campaigns of the operation's Ontario-sired freshmen and sophomores. The Quebec native, now living in Acton, ON, has driven horses to career purse earnings of $97 million. He and his brother Benoit began grooming and training horses as youngsters under the watchful eye of their father Gaetan. "I enjoy working with the young horses," said Baillargeon. "I like the challenge of developing them and the reward of seeing them start their careers and TheStable.ca is the best place to do that right now," he said. "This is an exciting opportunity for me." John Campbell has admired and competed alongside Baillargeon for 40 years. "Mario has made his mark as a driver with a great set of hands. But specifically, he's a great horseman. I'm sure his brother (trainer) Ben has found his feedback about the horses Mario has driven for him quite invaluable over the years. He has a natural aptitude around a horse. He understands everything," says Campbell. "The Baillargeon name is synonymous with great Canadian harness racing, and we're lucky to have Mario joining TheStable.ca," said Anthony MacDonald, co-founder and President of TheStable.ca. "Mario's depth of knowledge and horsemanship can only bolster our growing operation." "This is a lifestyle shift for me," says Baillargeon, "and one that I'm really enjoying." Baillargeon was among the leading drivers in California, Chicago, Detroit and Florida in the '80s and was one of Quebec's top reinsmen throughout the '90s before relocating to Ontario in 1999. Clocking more than 52,000 races since he first started driving at 19, Baillargeon is embracing the change. While he's still active on the WEG circuit where he has been a top driver for two decades, the opportunity to develop youngsters with TheStable.ca is affording him other opportunities away from the barn. "I'm very happy to be available many nights to watch my seven-year-old son play AA hockey, and to take my little girl to dance lessons. I never had that time with my older kids; I was driving horses seven days a week, so I missed that with them. Being part of TheStable.ca is still keeping me busy, but in a different way." Now in its third year, TheStable.ca is a revolutionary fractional racehorse ownership operation based in Guelph, ON. It boasts 121 Standardbred horses owned by nearly 600 people from 10 countries worldwide. The innovative and engaging model allows clients to purchase as little as one percent of a horse, making the thrill of harness racing and racehorse ownership easy, accessible and affordable. TheStable.ca will be showcasing many of its 52 yearlings in a drone broadcast on November 3 at 8:00 a.m. EST before heading to the Harrisburg Sale in Pennsylvania to shop for the final additions to its roster. Videos featuring commentaries and footage of the prospects will be shared throughout sale week. Visit thestable.ca to watch streaming video of Saturday's drone broadcast and to sign-up for the emails containing the Harrisburg Sale videos. From thestable.ca  

Harness Racing New Zealand recently presented free seminars around New Zealand with the founder of the groundbreaking Canadian fractional ownership operation, The Stable, Anthony MacDonald. The seminars were very well attended and received by all sectors of the industry, and his engagements included a guest speaking role at the Annual Harness Racing New Zealand Conference in Auckland in front of kindred bodies and club delegates. Anthony and his wife Amy have become internationally recognized for their work in growing the number of new owners in the harness racing industry in their homeland, but have also gained a wide and loyal following in nine other countries around the world. In an age where it is crucial for harness racing to evolve to stay relevant, Anthony is a powerhouse of positive thinking, but has also followed his words with immediate action and dedication. Following a series of rallies to save harness racing in Ontario with the threat of funding being pulled from slot machines, he spoke out in Queens Park in front of his peers and officials. So passionate and empowering were his speeches that he was asked to run for local government. Despite having no experience at all in politics, he knocked on thousands of doors during his campaign and became known to the general public as ‘the horse racing guy.’ Over two years he spoke to everyday people in their homes and found the message around harness racing the same. “I love horses, I like racing but I don’t come to the track because I don’t gamble.” Everywhere he went, the message was the same. That message sparked something within him, and despite finishing second in the election Anthony found a new hunger to make a difference – this time in his own industry of harness racing. Anthony and his wife Amy then decided to do something about the declining rate of owners in harness racing, taking equity on their house and starting a fractional ownership programme which they named ‘The Stable.’ They approached farms to send them their yearlings if they felt they didn’t reach a fair price at the sales, and then sold shares to their clients. The difference being that the potential owners could watch video reports and live drone footage of these horses being broken in and working on the track before they decided to buy in. Selling shares as small as just one percent, with a low buy in price and flat fee each month for training has seen their number of owners grow from zero to 544 in just three years. And those owners are not only in Canada, but in ten countries around the world – including New Zealand. Their owners are of all ages and hail from varying walks of life. In attracting a new base of owners, the biggest thing Anthony had to do was to make the process simple and easy to access. “With The Stable we built a model where you could get involved in horse racing ownership inexpensively and affordably. We built a transparent model, one that someone could sit down and look at openly, and understand easily. But most importantly with this model we were on the cusp of something that would change our industry forever. “It was a model that made it more affordable and entertaining to be a horse owner than ever. And that’s important, because there isn’t another sport on earth where you can be in the game for the price of admission. “ For the cost of taking your whole family to a sporting event for one night, you could take that money and stretch it over months and months and months. And do you know what happens in that time? People fall in love with the sport, the very same way that we did.” The Stable now regularly attends yearling sales across Canada and the US and purchases yearlings, and has found now themselves in the top five buyers lists. Pumping their success back into the industry, year after year. At his seminars in Invercargill, Christchurch and Auckland, Anthony had some key messages to not only trainers and syndicators, but around the overall marketing of the sport. “What we don’t realise is that we have painted ourselves into a corner. If you don’t gamble you’re not welcome at a track,” he said. “We have become so focused on advertising the gambling and wagering side of the sport, that we don’t sell the experience and the one thing that most people actually love – the horses.  “And the one thing we have found with our new owners is that despite the fact they have proclaimed they aren’t gamblers, the always come to the track, they bring their family, they bring their friends. And a funny thing started to happen. Our horses kept starting at short odds. Not only were the owners wagering on their own horse, but all of their friends and families, and our other clients were following and wagering on the horses in The Stable too.” Communication with his owners has been a huge focus also. “In order to stay competitive in the entertainment market we need to start treating our stables as a business, and our owners as customers,” Anthony said. “Talk to our customers and make them feel valued.” “Communication can be as simple as a Facebook post, a photo or an email. But we have to treat every owner that comes into our stable as though they are the last one we will ever have. Treat them well and they will stay with you.” This mantra has rung true with The Stable, with the ownership retention rate over three years sitting at around 95 percent with owners repeatedly investing into other horses year after year. Anthony also feels that we fall into a trap when we start to market a return on the investment to potential new owners. “We never talk about a return on investment when we talk to our owners. Because we simply cannot guarantee that, we just can’t. “What we are selling at The Stable is an entertainment package that people can choose to spend their disposable income on. Sure some horses can make money, but the reality is most don’t so we simply can’t promise a return. “What we can promise though is an experience and value. For a small outlay they buy a small piece of a horse. They come out to the farm and they pat they horse, they watch the horse train, the watch the videos of me explaining how the horse is doing and by the time the horse gets to the races they have already fallen in love with harness racing.” During his visit Anthony found that New Zealand is facing the very same issues harness racing faces in Canada and indeed the world, and the highlight for him was how he was received by everyone. “I didn’t know if people would find what I had to say interesting, or helpful, or if they would see how a fractional ownership model from Canada would be applicable in another hemisphere? “People seemed genuinely interested and recognized why the model we were speaking about would translate well in New Zealand. Horse racing in both hemispheres is more similar than people believe. We both are looking for ways to grow our industry and attract more participation. “The questions are the same and I feel the answers are the same also. Affordable ownership is the best way to grow the industry in all directions. How we implement that, is subjective for the time being,” said Anthony. He was also impressed with the youth of our industry.  “I was very surprised with not just the amount of people that attended our seminars, but the amount of younger people. New Zealand has a lot of young horsemen looking to make their mark. In my opinion that is a huge problem and it is rarely talked about in North America.” Anthony and Amy were also joined on their tour by friend and fellow Canadian Ryan Clements, who is known as the founder of the ‘The Farm Ventures’. He is the creator of two harness racing game apps that can be downloaded on to your phone. ‘Off And Pacing’ is a harness racing stable management game, where you buy and race harness horses and manage their careers, whilst ‘Catch Driver’ is a game where you drive horses live against other players around the world using reins on your touch screen to control your horse. An advocate of supporting youth initiatives, Clements was especially intrigued with the Kidz Kartz programme in New Zealand as no such thing exists in North America. He has made close contacts here and will support our youth initiatives including co-sponsorship of the Kidz Kartz New Zealand Cup alongside Westview Racing. One of the other highlights of the group’s visit included being able to work a horse on the beach for the first time, on one of the southernmost training surfaces in the world, Oreti Beach in Invercargill. It was the first time Anthony and Ryan were able to work a horse on a beach, and the footage went viral with their social media following around the world. Providing and amazing piece of visual marketing for New Zealand harness racing internationally. A massive thanks must go to Southern Harness, Murray Little, Kirstin Barclay and Paul Ellis for making this happen. Anthony, Amy and Ryan would also like to thank HRNZ and all of the people and clubs who opened their doors and made them feel extremely welcome during the visit.  “I’d like to thank the HRNZ and the board for allowing my wife and I to experience your beautiful country. No matter the hemisphere, horse racing faces the same hurdles and same concerns." Anthony "Thank you for allowing us to bring what we consider a working model and viable solution forward. We are forever greatful for your hospitality.” said." Despite the challenges that are facing harness racing currently, Anthony did end his speaking engagements always on a positive note. “Harness Racing’s best days are indeed ahead of us, we just have to change the way we look at it,” he insists. “At the moment around two percent of your population attended race meetings last year. Instead of trying to saturate that market and make that two percent wager more, why not try and get the other 98 percent onboard? “You can do that by utilizing the unique opportunity we have in harness racing. Get them to fall in love with the sport by making them part of the story. Give them the opportunity to fall in love by giving them value and affordable options, and I can guarantee they’ll come to the tracks, and they’ll bring their family and friends to the track too. “I know the best days are ahead of us. I’m going to see crowds at tracks that I’ve never seen before, and it all starts today. Just by changing the way we look at it.” You can view Anthony’s full HRNZ conference presentation by viewing the HRNZ You Tube channel video - ‘Anthony MacDonald at HRNZ Conference 2018’. If you would like to learn more about The Stable, you can visit www.thestable.ca If you would like to discuss options around the promotion of your stable or tools for communication please contact Jess Smith at Harness Racing New Zealand – jess@hrnz.co.nz  by Jess Smith, for Harness Racing New Zealand

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